Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Apr 29. pii: jc.2019-00368. doi: 10.1210/jc.2019-00368. [Epub ahead of print]

Associations of plasma CD36 and body fat distribution.

Author information

Health Services and Systems Research, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.
Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Institute of Epidemiology, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany.
Department of Neuroradiology, University Hospital Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark.
Department of Clinical Medicine, The Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.



CD36 is a class B scavenger-receptor involved in the uptake of fatty acids in liver and adipose tissue. It is unknown whether plasma CD36 levels are related to liver fat content or adipose tissue in the general population.


We measured plasma CD36 from 575 participants of the community-based PopGen-cohort who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to quantify visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous (SAT) adipose tissue and liver signal intensity (LSI), a proxy for liver fat content. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was defined as LSI ≥3.0 in the absence of high alcohol intake. The relations between plasma CD36 and body mass index (BMI), VAT, SAT, LSI, and NAFLD were evaluated using multivariable-adjusted linear and logistic regression analysis.


Plasma CD36 concentrations were correlated with BMI (r=0.11; P=0.01), SAT (r=0.16; P<0.001), and VAT (r=0.15, P<0.001), but not with LSI (P=0.44). In multivariable-adjusted regression models, mean BMI values rose across CD36-quartiles (Q1: 27.8 kg/m2; Q4: 28.9 kg/m2; P-trend=0.013). Similarly, VAT (Q1: 4.13 dm3; Q4: 4.71 dm3; P-trend<0.001) and SAT (Q1: 7.61 dm3; Q4: 8.74 dm3; P-trend<0.001) rose across CD36 quartiles. Plasma CD36 concentrations were unrelated to LSI (P-trend=0.36), and NAFLD (P-trend=0.64). Participants with NAFLD and elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a marker for liver damage, had higher CD36 compared to NAFLD participants with normal ALT.


Higher plasma concentrations of CD36 were associated with greater general and abdominal adiposity, but not with liver fat content or NAFLD in this community-based sample. However, plasma CD36 may reflect more severe liver damage in NAFLD.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center